Why I’m Now Kimberly Robb Baker, or, You Can Take the Girl Out of the Curry…

November 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm 24 comments

The Hubs and I are A-OK!

The Hubs and I are A-OK!

I’m going back to my maiden name, Kimberly Robb Baker, for professional purposes. I am legally remaining Kim(berly) Mohiuddin and will keep most personal arenas (i.e. my personal Facebook profile) the same. Those of you who know me both personally and professionally will just have to understand that Kim Mohiuddin and Kimberly Robb Baker are both me.

Though one might not expect it of people who had spent only 16 days together before getting engaged, my marriage of 9 years to my best friend of 11 years is going strong (some people have asked). I’m lucky to have a husband who supports me as I find my way through these questions of personal identity.

If you just needed the basics of why the name I’m using on my website, email, etc. has changed, read no further.

For those curious about my musings on the topic, you’re welcome to dig in below.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank all of the clients, colleagues, and friends who have made me and my business a success under any name. Let’s keep movin’ on up!

Follow your bliss,

Kim

For the record, Mohiuddin is pronounced, “Mo-hee-you-Deen,” with a hard “D” if you care to be perfectly authentic.

When my husband asked me to marry him, I said, “Yes! And could you tell me how to pronounce your name one more time?” (There was a more formal engagement process initiated by my wonderful in-laws, per Indian cultural customs. Good thing I knew how to pronounce their name!)

I’ve told this story to put people at ease when they ask me how to say my married name. They often ask with a bit of embarrassment, as if they are being culturally insensitive by not putting it together themselves.

I loved the name Mohiuddin long before I could say it properly. It means, “propagator of faith.” In truth, it has taken me years to say it with anything like the ease of a native speaker. Even our children add a distinctly American accent to it, so the name is evolving as it enters its first generation in the US. But the name, which has Arabic origins, is accustomed to travel.

The thought of changing my name came up because I’m writing a book and booking speaking engagements. More people need to be able to say it and remember it. As I go more public with my mission to help people succeed in their careers and lives by being more authentically themselves, my advisors have told me that I could have more privacy if I used a different name for my professional endeavors.

My husband, Imran, is “Ron” to his work colleagues and to most Americans he meets. He calls it his Starbucks name. It’s just easier.

Kimberly Robb Baker, up at bat!

Kimberly Robb Baker, up at bat!

But this change for me is more than just a Starbucks name. My maiden name was given to me when I came into the world. It’s the one that described me for the first 29 years of my life. It trailed the shy, thoughtful girl that was me as she went to school, read mountains of books, danced ballet for seven years, and rode horses for many more. Laurie Beauchamp, my mentor in horses and life since the age of 11, reminded me recently of the time a horse threw me off five times in a row, and I just kept getting back on until he stopped. I had forgotten that, and it made me wonder what other aspects of myself had receded into the background.

It was Kimberly Robb Baker who almost bailed out of India when the mosquitoes and poverty and seeming lack of order challenged her comfort levels. She was the one who stayed on past the discomfort, allowing the beauty, dignity, and diversity of the land to reveal itself.

Nowadays, it would be a big production to go backpacking in India or anywhere else. Simple shopping trips require planning with young children, a husband, and a business to consider.

“Kim Mohiuddin” has a different life, and even a different scent. My hair usually smells of curry, a fragrance I’ve always been attracted to. When I entered an Indian household and smelled what I now know to be a mixture of many spices—notably cumin, cinnamon, garlic, and curry leaf—my mouth would water. Even now that I eat mostly raw food, I add cumin to my date shakes or pair bananas with fresh ginger.

The lady who teaches our kids to rock climb always smells my hair on purpose when we hug hello or goodbye. “I love it!” she exclaims. My hairdresser has suggested a hair deodorizer. “I don’t know if you need it or not, but I wanted you to know that we sell it,” she [not so] tactfully states.

As much as I love the smell, it’s not one I would have chosen as “mine,” but the curry has chosen me. It has unpacked its bags and put its toothbrush in the medicine cabinet. Unless I keep all of my belongings in a closet far away from the kitchen and wash and dry my hair (a many-hours process for this curly girl), every time I leave the house it will be with me. I’m simply not willing to go to great lengths to separate myself from it.

The fact that my home is an amalgam of two cultures is a huge piece of who I am, and those with sensitive noses are cued into it right away. But it’s not all that I am. I’m a vegan, yogi, resume writer, mystic, singer, actress, public speaker, teller of bawdy jokes, and more. When we really start to describe ourselves, it all gets beautifully complicated.

I sometimes lose touch with that quietly voracious young Kimberly who still wants to be in the picture. I don’t know exactly why it feels good to use my maiden name for my professional life, but it has something to do with her.

I shared my name-change plans with a married colleague recently. She confessed that she loves her maiden name and wishes she could use it again. “It’s a lot of trouble to change your name,” she lamented, “But I’ll be watching eagerly to see how it goes for you.”

Is there a change, name or otherwise, you’ve been thinking about making? One that will bring you more authentically into the world? I’d welcome your insights in the comments below.

My mentor, Laurie Beauchamp, getting her horse ready for me to ride.

My mentor, Laurie Beauchamp, getting her horse ready for me to ride.

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24 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Posey  |  November 19, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    WOW! Thank you for sharing Kimberly Robb Baker Mohiuddin. Though we’ve never met, we are resume colleagues, and you inspire me.
    Your story resonates with me on many levels. Nine years ago, for a number of reasons, I began to lose who I was and what made me unique. A couple of years ago, I began a quest to reclaim the lost parts of me and identify who I “really” am. It’s funny how life experiences can over-shadow parts of us that should be clearly recognized among the key things that make us who we are.
    Changing a name or part of it can be a good thing. I like both of your names. Much to the chagrin of my parents, my professional and personal name, is different from my given name (the one I used for 47 years.) This name is more a part of “who I am” and I am okay with that.
    I am excited for you. I’m excited about your new ventures and the many adventures they will bring.
    I look forward to reading your book.
    Warmly,
    Posey

    Reply
    • 2. Kimberly Robb Baker  |  November 20, 2013 at 9:43 am

      Posey, I know exactly who you are, and that is largely because your name sticks out as being so distinctive and lovely. It always calls to me from the e-list queue.

      Thank you for reading and for your kind words. Whether we change our names or not, there certainly comes a time (and maybe multiple times) in our lives when we commit to bring our authentic selves to the fore. Brava to you for doing so!

      Reply
  • 3. Norine Dagliano  |  November 19, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    I LOVE your story, Kimberly Robb Baker and am delighted to meet you! Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • 4. Kimberly Robb Baker  |  November 20, 2013 at 9:44 am

      Thank you so much, Norine. I appreciate counting you as a friend and colleague.

      Reply
  • 5. Bobbi Rettig  |  November 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    How sweet. Great story and story teller – not easy writing about yourself. Glad to meet you too. Best of luck keeping your curry self and Rob Baker original self well blended into one tangy dressing.

    Reply
    • 6. Kimberly Robb Baker  |  November 20, 2013 at 9:44 am

      Thanks, Bobbi. You’re making me hungry :-)

      Reply
  • 7. careertips2go  |  November 19, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing more of your story Kim. I can sense the excitement going forward. It’s wonderful you have such great from Imran (Ron). Once upon a time (storyteller), my favourite cricketer was Imran Khan until he retired and went into politics.

    Best wishes,

    Reply
    • 8. Kimberly Robb Baker  |  November 20, 2013 at 9:46 am

      Thank you, fellow storyteller Daisy. I call my husband Imran Khan when I’m feeling frivolous. Of course, the little I know about cricket, I learned from my Imran ;-)

      Reply
  • 9. Maureen Farmer  |  November 19, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Kim, this was a lovely story. Thank you for sharing it and I absolutely love the photo of you and Imran. Also, thank you for explaining the name change because I wasn’t really sure myself. I enjoyed meeting you at CDI Summit and felt your spiritual nature immediately. Sigh…this was just lovely!!

    Kind regards,
    Maureen Farmer

    Reply
    • 10. Kimberly Robb Baker  |  November 20, 2013 at 9:53 am

      Thank you for going on the Journey, Maureen! I very much enjoyed meeting you too, and I look forward to knowing you better.

      Reply
  • 11. Bridget (Weide) Brooks  |  November 19, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    What a neat story, Kim(berly)! As we sometimes need to advise our resume clients, our names can be a stumbling block. Like you, my maiden name (Weide) was with me the first 29 years of my life, and I’ve chosen to integrate it professionally (despite how easy it is to mispronounce — it’s pronounced “WHY-DEE”), although I am nearly 100% Bridget Brooks outside of work.

    The most important thing I always say is, “I don’t care what you call me, as long as you call me.”

    In your case, I’m thrilled to call you a friend and colleague! So I don’t care what name you choose to go by — you’re simply inspiring. But thanks for sharing this great story.

    - Bridget (Weide) Brooks

    Reply
    • 12. Kimberly Robb Baker  |  November 20, 2013 at 9:55 am

      Hi Bridget,

      This is the first time I’ve known how to pronounce Weide. Thank you for sharing and for reading!

      As for inspiring, it definitely takes one to know one in this case. You are a friend and colleague I often look to for inspiration!

      Reply
  • 13. Brenda Goburn Smith  |  November 20, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Kimberly, I certainly admire your courage, wisdom and self-knowledge on many levels. I wish the same for myself, my clients, my family and friends. Thank you. You encouraged me pause to reflect on courage, wisdom, and self-knowledge.

    Reply
    • 14. Kimberly Robb Baker  |  November 20, 2013 at 9:59 am

      Well, thank you, Brenda. It’s good to “meet” you. From reading your bio, it seems courage, wisdom, self-knowledge, and an overall curiosity a qualities that ground you and your work. I think we are kindred spirits.

      Reply
  • 15. Michelle Swanson  |  November 20, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Kimberly Robb Baker — thank you for sharing your story. You’ve inspired me to think about how I might become more authentic and bring a bit of my personal life into my professional one.

    Reply
    • 16. Kimberly Robb Baker  |  November 20, 2013 at 10:01 am

      Thank you, Michelle. It’s amazing what happens in life when we bring more of ourselves to the table, isn’t it?

      Reply
  • 17. Debra O'Reilly  |  November 20, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Hi, Kim! I enjoyed seeing you in Orlando last month, and I appreciate your generosity in sharing your worlds with us here. Such beautiful names, and such a fine story!

    I wish you well with your professional re-branding. Actually, I have no doubt that a mere PR sweep will not faze you … not with your history of re-re-re-re-re-mounting that horse!

    Reply
    • 18. Kimberly Robb Baker  |  November 20, 2013 at 10:05 am

      Debra, you made me laugh out loud! I’m honored that you invited my story in. And yes, it was wonderful to meet in person. There is more to life than a computer screen! (Or so I hear.)

      Reply
  • 19. Roleta Fowler Vasquez, CPRW, CEIP  |  November 21, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    My husband also supports my using my maiden name professionally when I am ready to do so, for whatever reason. I suppose we were eager to please our elders and learned, almost too late, that we need to please ourselves first, for this is our time that will never come again. Congratulations on being true to yourself, Kim, and to Imran for being man enough to walk at your side.

    Reply
    • 20. Kimberly Robb Baker  |  November 22, 2013 at 4:29 am

      That’s very well said, Roleta! Congratulations on having a strong man at your side. This being “our time” reminds me of how I’ve often observed older people (especially women) doing and saying just what they want because they’ve been through so much and just don’t feel like censoring themselves anymore. But I’ve often thought, “Why wait until you’re old for that?”

      Reply
  • 21. Shauna C. Bryce, Esq.  |  December 2, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Lovely reading your story, Kim!

    Reply
    • 22. Kimberly Robb Baker  |  December 2, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      Thank you, Shauna!

      Reply
  • 23. Roxan Wetzel  |  June 12, 2014 at 10:16 am

    KIm,

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! I love your authenticity and am excited to follow your journey ‘movin on up’! As I am in the throws of a name change and all that is involved. I greatly appreciate hearing the thoughtfulness that you have put into this and the lovely way you have shared your story! Be Blessed!

    Roxan (Park) Wetzel

    Reply
    • 24. Kimberly Robb Baker  |  June 12, 2014 at 10:30 am

      Thank you for the kind words, Roxan! Sending blessings right back at ya!

      Reply

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